Google‘s new social network, Google+ is storming the nation. Well, not really, because the site is still on an invitation only basis. Oh, and brands are excluded. However, the site will only remain this way for a limited time basis, and within a couple of months people will be able to sign up for Google+ themselves and brands will be able to create their own pages with more information than Facebook can dream of at their fingertips.
Following the popularity of its search engine and Gmail, Google has been attempting to expand into the social networking digital realm for some time. In the past, the site tried and failed to create a social networking hub with Google Buzz.
However, from the beta versions of the new Google+, it looks like they’ve learned numerous lessons, and if the hype surrounding the plus, as we’ve taken to calling it, is anywhere near the finished version, now is the time for brands, shops, and everyone in between to start taking notes on the next frontier of social networking.
Check out images from my personal Google+ account:
While there are still a lot of questions as to what the site will offer from a marketing standpoint, here’s what we know:
To gain users. the site combines some of the best features from Facebook and Twitter. For instance, users can share pictures and update their statues like they can on both sites. Users can also choose not to follow back like on Twitter.
Comparatively, here are some benefits to Google+ over the other players in the market:
- For advertisers, Facebook is limited to a mere profile, which is only filled out completely by some users. On the other hand, Google has access to a social network profile, email, search history, and purchase history. When Google+ opens its site to brands, who’s knows how much information will be given to them or available for purchase? Google’s VP of Products, Bradley Horowitz has already said that while the site is only in the testing stages, it will eventually be open to brands.
- Inclusion of Google + Bottom:
- Since just about all brands have official websites, these websites can benefit from receiving +1′s on profile pages.
- Until now, search was outward facing, which means exactly what it sounds like. If a person wanted something, he or she would have to search for it, and Google would provide a list of related links. Now, information is becoming increasingly inward facing with an individual as the filter. That means that ads will represent brands, topics, et cetera, that the individual expresses interest in. This gives the individual a specific, custom web experience.
Currently, Google engineers are planning to create a business experience that exceeds the consumer profile in terms of its usefulness in branding, according to Google+ Product Manager Christian Oestlien. “We just ask for your patience while we build it. In the meantime, we are discouraging businesses from using regular profiles to connect with Google+ users,” Oestlien wrote on his blog. “Our policy team will actively work with profile owners to shut down non-user profiles.”
Oestlien said Google has been focused on refining the consumer experience, but will roll out a business-optimized experience later this year, which will include rich analytics and the ability to connect with other products businesses use regularly, such as AdWords.
Google has already chosen a number of brands and businesses to test the experience for non-individuals in hopes that the partners will help Google figure out how users interact with those entities in the platform’s circles, streams, and hangouts.
Although there’s no way to tell if Google+ will catch the momentum that other popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have, it’s likely to gain more traction than Google’s past attempts (i.e. Google Buzz, etc.). Social networking gurus, marketers, and advertisers should begin to familiarize themselves with the site the same way individuals have been, by getting invited on the personal level. Brands might also want to stay updated on the site, because, it could be big, and what major brand wants to get left behind?